In the early days of knowing Mrs Smith, courtship typically involved a few rounds of Sambuca and the chivalrous offer of sharing a taxi home. These days it involves a boutique trip to Mallorca, gourmet dinner, a fluffy mountain of white dressing gowns, and any number of elaborate therapeutic spa treatments. But hey, she loved it; it worked for me; everyone is happy.
If you like the pared-down luxe of sister property Can Simoneta, you’ll love Font Santa Hotel’s similar stylings: artworks aside, the brightest colour is white, with beige, grey and taupe taking supporting roles. Everything is both natural and Mallorcan, and the calm, clutter-free design means an air of stillness pervades – and it’s adults-only, so noise levels are capped at reasonable limits.
So content on our anniversary weekend was Mrs Smith that when the maître d’ of at the Font Santa Hotel shook our hands on our first evening, she introduced herself by name and, for a moment, I thought she was going to invite the poor man to join us for dinner. Maintaining his cool, he enquired whether we might like a drink. A fine idea. Now, these are the kind of decisions I like. Gone, for a blissful few days, were the mundane decisions of home life, and whose turn it is to change a nappy. Instead we luxuriated in choosing between mojito or caipirinha, Pimm’s No 1 or gin fizz. This was more like it. The dining at Font Santa is formal, amid a pale modern decor, central fireplace, high arches and a smart wooden-beamed ceiling – there is no piped pop music, table conversation is quiet and the waiters are attentive but discreet. The pick of our excellent tapas? The prawns baked in oil and garlic and the enjoyable roulette of Pimientos de Padrón, fried sweet chilli peppers.
Outside, the grounds are just as peaceful, where hammocks swing in the sweet-scented gardens and plump daybeds line the pool. I opened the windows to our room to only the sound of fountains and the warm scent of lavender and pine drifted in from the gardens. The night was still and dark. On the walls was a triumvirate of large paintings depicting a grey sky with stars peeping through scudding clouds. This was not a room where you lay in bed thinking, ‘Goodness, that needs a clean. I would definitely change the curtains. Maybe I should move that bit of furniture over there to help the feng shui.’ Such thoughts are never mine, but from experience I know that this is where Mrs Smith’s mind can drift. With nothing to clean, move or redecorate, Mrs Smith could give me her full and undivided attention.
During one of the weekend’s many moments of idle reflection, I thought of the famously elaborate courting ritual of the male bird of paradise. Mrs Smith does not like to be outdone, not even by a tropical bird. It seemed I had yet to prove myself further, for in the morning she announced that we would be tackling the spa circuit… ‘together’. This filled me with a degree of horror. However, I donned my dressing gown and strode boldly into the new world of vaporiums.
I must confess that I enjoyed the spa far more than I envisaged. The saline pools and subterranean thermal waters of the area have been popular for their healing properties for hundreds of years. Though the Font Santa Hotel was refurbished in 2012, its modern veneer sits comfortably with the atmosphere and style of the 1869 sandstone villa and old stone chambers. The restorative waters will ease any creaks; if they’re not enough, the indulgent treatments should do the trick. Those Romans were no fools: if they believed these waters to be beneficial, they’ve probably got a point.
Suitably relaxed, we ventured on a few short outings. We borrowed pleasingly old-fashioned bicycles – curved handlebars, shiny metal bell – and sallied forth, dinging our bells happily together. The pretty beach at Es Trenc is a gentle 15-minute ride away down a quiet lane, meandering past great mounds of salt and the shallow pools that the famous local salt is extracted from. As it was November, there was no dilemma for us as whether to partake in the nudist section of the beach or not.
We explored the village of Port d’Andratx, whose glamorous villas pile up the hillsides of the curved bay. I even dragged Mrs Smith on a cross-country hike to the clear-blue waters of the Mondrago Natural Park; Mrs Smith seemed more taken with the agreeable Saturday market in the old streets of Santanyi. Mallorca is compact and even the capital Palma is an easy drive away. In winter it is quiet but the climate is pleasant and it proved perfect for an off-season break.
Truthfully, perhaps some of the hotel’s more exquisite, expensive touches were lost on me, but with her eye for detail, they were savoured by Mrs Smith. She purred with pleasure at the lavender gardens and the thermal baths, Bulgari bath products, the glass-topped tree-trunk coffee tables and the chilled bottle of Cava at breakfast. And, if it gets Mrs Smith in the mood, well it sure as hell works for me.